Wildlife groups have come under fire for making ‘damaging’ claims against Welsh farmers.
NFU Cymru president John Davies said he was ‘disappointed and dismayed’ by responses made by the RSPB, WWF and Wildlife Trusts Wales to the Welsh Government’s ‘Brexit and Our Land’ consultation and publicised on their websites and social media channels.
Mr Davies said the groups inferred farming practices were harming the environment, with claims which countered the ‘true depiction’ of Welsh farming’s contribution to Wales’ environmental, economic, social and cultural well-being, as well as food production.
“These organisations are pedalling comments that show a complete disregard and ignorance for the work of Welsh farmers and the multiple benefits they carry out in maintaining and improving habitats, biodiversity and striving to meet our climate change obligations as part of Welsh agri-environment schemes for over a quarter of a century,” said Mr Davies.
“Welsh farmers take their environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and hold great pride in being the custodians of Wales’ cherished landscapes and habitats, alongside their key role as food producers.”
Describing the claims as ‘fake dystopia’, Mr Davies said he was dismayed environmental groups, which were seeking to have a leading role in working with Welsh farmers to deliver positive outcomes for our environment in the future, would resort to underhand tactics.
He added: “These statements are upsetting and do nothing more than drive a wedge between us, when in fact these organisations – who let’s not forget are termed as ‘partners’ on Welsh Government working groups – should be working with us to achieve our shared goals.”
WWF described Wales as being ‘one of the most nature depleted countries in the world’, while RSPB said there was ‘only a short timeframe to change the way we manage our land, otherwise the nature we rely on will crash’.
Wales Wildlife Trust said there was a ‘critical opportunity to reverse the decline in wildlife and make sure Welsh land meets the needs of people and nature in Wales’.